Grim warning by former French FM and writer on impact of possible Turkish incursion
Bernard Kouchner, former French foreign minister, and writer Patrice Franceschi, wrote an article analyzing the recent situation surrounding Northern Syria as Turkish authorities have repeatedly expressed their intention to launch a fresh offensive in the region.
In the article, published in Le Monde on Wednesday, Kouchner and Franceschi say that "France's security interests will be threatened" if the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), a political entity built by the Syrian Kurds, "were to disappear due to [Turkish President] Erdogan's attacks."
They make the following depiction regarding the isolation of the AANES, which exercise control over large areas in the region including Kurdish-majority parts that are called "Rojava", or Western Kurdistan:
"In the North of Rojava, the interminable 800-kilometer wall that runs along the border with Turkey is still there, with its barbed wire and watchtowers, trapping the Kurds. In the east, the region's blockade by Iraq continues unabated, making it difficult for the population to lead a normal life. To the west, in Afrin Canton, which was conquered by the Turks in 2018, the ruthless ethnic cleansing that is replacing the Kurds with Syrian Islamists continues, despite being condemned by the UN. In the south, Damascus is waiting for its revenge, backed by Iran and Hezbollah militias."
"Finally, the center of Rojava, which Erdogan seized in 2019, continues to serve as a support base for the countless ISIS sleeper cells – which it has managed to maintain in the areas liberated by the SDF [the Syrian Democratic Forces] – that keep growing in anticipation of the big day when they will rise together against the Kurds, during the next Turkish invasion.
"To add to this gloomy picture, Turkey has waged a war on water. As the master of dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, it has turned off most of the taps. Drinking water is already scarce in Kurdistan, many herds have been wiped out and this year wheat crops will not even attain 40% of their usual yield, according to local authorities. There is a looming threat of famine."
"If we let Erdogan invade Syrian Kurdistan again, we can be sure that the Islamic State group will return to the regions from which we had driven it out – with the potential re-emergence of mass terrorism against France, the jihadists' preferred target, like when the Bataclan theater was attacked in Paris. To avoid this backlash, it is imperative that France, America, Europe and the United Nations finally come together to take a firm stand to stop Erdogan. Political and military solutions certainly exist but the willingness to act still lacks."